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2022-23 ATO | WEEK 27

By USA Hockey Officiating Program, 03/03/23, 6:45AM MST


QUESTION: If a goalkeeper who is standing with his skate against the inside of the post ("hugging the post") uses his stick to freeze the puck between his stick, his skate blade, and the post, should a penalty be assessed?

ANSWER: In general, a goalkeeper is only allowed to cover the puck while in the “act of playing goal”. The determination as to whether a Delay of Game penalty must be assessed will be based on the location of the puck in relation to the goal-post and whether there are attacking players near the puck. A puck that is right next to the post or located a few inches behind the post would not likely qualify for a Delay of Game penalty. However, if the puck is located several inches behind the post, one could argue there is no immediate scoring opportunity and therefore the goalkeeper should be penalized if he/she covers the puck.

Additionally, a goalkeeper cannot cover a puck if there are no attacking players near the puck, regardless of where the puck is located.



QUESTIONIf the puck is sitting on the top or back of the goal netting and the goalkeeper covers it with his glove while part of his body is in the crease, should a penalty be assessed?

ANSWER: Rule 631.b in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states:

"Play shall be stopped immediately if the puck comes to rest in the netting on top of the goal frame.

Play shall be stopped and deemed unplayable if the puck becomes lodged in the netting outside of either goal and neither team is able to dislodge the puck within three seconds."

However, a minor penalty for delay of game should be assessed to a goalkeeper who freezes the puck while located on the back-netting of the goal. This action is not considered in the "act of playing goal".


QUESTIONDoes contact have to be made for a Charging penalty to be called? The player takes more than two strides and covers a good distance but his opponent falls before the check, and the player completely misses the hit, falling into the boards himself.

ANSWER: Under the USA Hockey Playing Rules interpretations, contact must be made for a Charging infraction to occur. This is different than other infractions (Spearing, Kicking, etc.).


QUESTIONIf an offensive player’s stick is in motion to flip the puck into the net and an opponent’s stick comes between the offensive players stick and the puck, is it still a goal when the puck goes in the net even though it was flipped in by both sticks?

ANSWERRule 617(b) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“A goal shall be legally scored if:

-  The puck has been propelled into the goal by the stick of an attacking player provided it was done in accordance with Rule 621 High Sticks.
-  The puck enters the goal as a result of any action by the defending team.”


QUESTIONQuestion is on a scoresheet, a team lists 3 goalies, makes no scratches. Game ends. What's the ruling? I know rule 201 only allows 2 goalies & 18 skaters. For full clarity, the team only dressed 1 goalie.

ANSWERRule 201(a) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“A team must start a game with a minimum of six players. Any time that a team has been reduced to less than four players, the game shall be declared a forfeit.

A maximum of 20 players, in which not more than 18 are skaters, shall be permitted to play in the game.”

A team may list three goalkeepers on their game roster provided they do not have more than 20 total participants.


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